May 29, 2007 > Darren Lewis, master outfielder
Darren Lewis, master outfielder
By Steve Michel
One of Moreau Catholic High School's biggest baseball stars was born, Darren Joel Lewis, August 28, 1967 in Berkeley. Before Lewis graduated in 1985, he achieved All-League honors and established himself as one of the best baseball players to ever lace his cleats as a Mariner.
Lewis went on to star at Chabot College in Hayward during the 1986 and 1987 seasons. He made 1st Team All-Golden Gate Conference and All-Northern Cal both years. His outstanding play at Chabot earned an election to the Chabot College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
The star outfielder transferred to the University of California Berkeley on a baseball scholarship and played his junior year at Berkeley before entering the amatuer draft in 1988. He was selected in the eighteenth round by the Oakland Athletics who promptly incorporated him into their excellent farm system.
Less than two seasons later, Lewis made his major league debut on August 21, 1990. He was 22 years old. After playing 25 games in the Oakland outfield and collecting 8 hits with one RBI, Lewis was traded to the San Francisco Giants. He saw limited action in 1991 and 1992 but finally hit his stride with a breakout year in 1993. Lewis played in 136 games for San Francisco, rapping 132 hits, 7 triples, 17 doubles, 2 home runs, and collecting 48 RBIs. His batting average was a respectable .253. Lewis's speed allowed him to steal 46 bases that year.
The next season, 1994, Lewis won the Gold Glove at centerfield for his outstanding defensive play. Eventually, the quick and sure-handed defender set a major league record by playing 392 games without an error. His manager while with the Giants, former Dodger great Dusty Baker, named his first son, Darren, after the centerfielder.
Midway through the 1995 season, Lewis was the Cincinati Reds, who then traded him to the Chicago White Sox. The next two years (1996 - '97) saw the Hayward star manning centerfield for the Sox. He enjoyed a very good year at the plate with the Sox in 1996, driving in 53 runs, and stealing 21 bases.
Before the 1998 season, Lewis moved again, this time to the Boston Red Sox. Lewis responded to the trade by having his best year ever at the plate. In 155 games for the Red Sox in '98, Lewis established a career-high with 157 hits, 25 doubles, 3 triples, 8 home runs, 63 RBIs, 29 stolen bases and a .268 batting average. Over the next four seasons, Lewis roamed the tricky outfields of Fenway Park, playing all three positions, including left field against the "green monster."
As was his habit throughout his baseball career, Lewis played the outfield to near-perfection for the Red Sox. In four full seasons (1998 - 2001), he totaled all of seven errors. His fielding percentage during those years? .992. A review of official baseball statistics reveals that Lewis' lowest fielding percentage at any outfield slot was when he played 41 games in center for the Red Sox. In that "poor" showing, Lewis fielded 97.2 chances of every one hundred balls hit his way. His 13-year career fielding percentage average was a stellar .942.
Darren Lewis will be remembered as one of the best ever to play baseball for the Moreau Mariners, Chabot Gladiators, and California Golden Bears. He was also a favorite of San Francisco Giants fans everywhere for his outstanding defensive play and blazing speed on the base paths.